“Can I be a musician and a parent at the same time?”

Can I be a musician and a parent at the same time?

A Familiar Story 

Can I be a musician and a parent at the same time? The dream is well and truly alive. The band is going from strength to strength and you’re just waiting for that big break. You’re desperate to be in the right place at the right time, in front of the right crowd with the right guy there, front and centre. It’s a feeling that any guy or girl, who has ever been part of a garage band has experienced at some stage in their fledgling careers, gigging to next to nobody in dive bars and jumping for the chance of some airplay on local radio. It’s all part of the journey. 

The Turning Point

But just as Greenday warned us, there’s always ‘another turning point, a fork stuck in the road.’ For many musicians, this turning point can be parenthood. But does the dream really have to die there? It seems such a shame that the most beautiful thing in the world, having a child, has to spell an end to creativity and expression. It seems such a shame because it simply doesn’t have to be that way, it just feels like it does.

Reach Out With Social Media

Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis had a young child when he took his own life. Perhaps the strain of parenthood and his fans’ idolization of him was too fine a balancing act. Many performers find it hard to juggle the responsibilities of being a new mum or dad with the responsibilities to their bandmates. Ian Curtis died with the potential for a hundred brilliant songs inside him, but just because you don’t die, doesn’t mean the songs survive, especially if you don’t fan the flames by sharing your talent.

The Toughest Gig 

It’s the toughest gig a musician will ever play, being a parent and a performer at the same time, but if you know how to manage the two, the rewards can be as beautiful as they are bewildering.

Take a Break

As a starting point, give yourself a break. Don’t expect to be killing a live show one minute and then preparing the night feed the next. It just doesn’t happen like that. Most people in more traditional lines of work will take some paternity or maternity time. Even if it hits you in the pocket, you can’t get that time back, so make sure you take it.

Inspire

Secondly, use one to inspire the other. If you’re stuck for subject matter for the next album, look no further than the bundle of joy you’ve created. And while you’re at it, try out your riffs and your lyrics on the tiniest of ears. Your new biggest fan. All your lullabies could be rehearsals. You have to adapt, just make sure your lyrics pass parental advisory first.

Sharing is Caring

The next suggestion is one that is always overlooked, no exceptions. If you’re passionate about keeping the music alive, make sure you find out what your partner wants to keep doing, No one can expect an endless supply of free passes without having to return the favour some of the time. This usually but not exclusively applies to men, it has to be said. So many musicians love to talk about their art at length, almost to the point of tears, whilst their partner sits and soothes the baby. What happens next? It’s time to spend time together or allow your partner time to pursue whatever it is that keeps their fire burning. Even if its an hour or two of uninterrupted ‘me’ time, it has to be catered for. It’s simple mathematics really. 

Even things up or the first thing to be pulled under scrutiny will be the music, the band, the passion.

“You’re never going to get signed anyway. Just give up, already.”

It’s hard to refute such suggestions if the shows aren’t pulling in the big bucks, unless of course you’re being fair. If it’s a competition between parenthood and performing in terms of importance, there can only ever be one winner, but for as many sacrifices as you’ll make whilst parenting, remember to keep pursuing that which makes you feel most alive, or there’s the chance you’ll live to regret it. Even worse, you’ll live to rue missed chances and then attribute those missed chances to what should actually be the best thing that ever happened to you. It’s the same for any hobby or side hustle in truth, but the musician’s creative spirit means it can be felt all the more acutely for them. 

Nail It

Stepping back for a bit, and then planning how to nail both at the same time is in the best interests of everyone. It’s achievable too.

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